“I’m sure he’ll be thinking a lot about how he’s going to play all the new bowlers who are coming in. And I hope all our batters are doing the same thing, but he’s a good player and hopefully he’ll have a way of working it out.”
A fully fit England attack … including Jofra Archer
As brilliant as Australia’s come-from-behind triumph was in Birmingham, it was difficult to escape the fact that things could have worked out differently had James Anderson not broken down after four overs – or not been chosen at all. England like to run with a four-man seam attack including all-rounder Ben Stokes and they were one down almost throughout in the first Test.
“I think it’s obviously important to them … we’re slightly different, our bowlers are used to playing with just the four of them,” Australia captain Tim Paine said. “So no doubt that was something different for some of their players at Edgbaston.”
Barring another injury England will be better resourced at Lord’s and have speed to burn with debutant Jofra Archer.
“We know what a good cricketer he is, so we’ll respect him,” Langer said. “I’m really curious, like everyone, to see how he’ll go in red-ball cricket. Hopefully our guys have got the answers for whatever he’ll dish up to us.”
The Lord’s specialist
Among the England seamers is Chris Woakes, who seems to grow another leg when he plays at the Home of Cricket. In four Tests at the ground he has 24 wickets at 9.75 including the 11 for the match he collected against Pakistan in 2016. His best two scores with the bat have also come at the venue including his 137 against India last year.
“This looks a similar wicket to the one we played Pakistan on and he got 10-for in that game,” England captain Joe Root said. “He is a very skilful guy. He obviously likes this venue, whether it’s the slope or just the occasion itself, he’s very much in love with playing at Lord’s and his record definitely backs that up.”
The middle orders
Australia’s supporting cast to Smith all of a sudden appears more solid after Travis Head and Matthew Wade bedded down their spots at five and six respectively at Edgbaston. In contrast, England’s much-vaunted middle order failed to fire barring a half-century from Ben Stokes, with Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow out for single figures in both innings in Birmingham.
“We think their middle order is as dangerous as any around international cricket,” Paine said. “When you’ve got Buttler, Stokes and Bairstow, we’ve seen how devastating they can be. It was great to keep them quiet in the first Test but we know it’s a long series and Test cricket being Test cricket they’re going to have their day eventually but we’ve got some plans in place for all of them and if we execute well we’re half a chance.”
The spin king
If Nathan Lyon takes what he has been doing in the nets at the Nursery Ground out onto the main arena at Lord’s he will again be a real handful for England. He was turning the ball around corners at practice, leaving teammates guessing as well as Smith shaking his left hand in agony after a ball that struck him awkwardly on the left glove. Lyon was the central figure in Australia clinching victory emphatically on the last day at Edgbaston and is riding high on confidence.
“It’s fair to say, bar Jason [Roy] he bowled us out,” Root said. “So credit to him. We’ll have to make sure that if we find ourselves in a similar scenario throughout the four games we try and combat that a little bit differently, being a little bit smarter.”
Chris Barrett is Sports Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald.